CAROL PERKINS:

CAROL PERKINS

I hit the floor at 6 a.m. to start waking the grandkids for school. For four days, I stayed with Luke (15), Eme (13) and Noah (11) at their home in Texas while their parents were on business trips. For the first time in years, I had them all to myself! Since the first one didn’t leave until 7:20, I got up early to have coffee, but I couldn’t get the Keurig to work; so after 20 minutes of pushing, pressing, unplugging and almost boiling water and dumping grounds that came inside the pods to make coffee the old fashioned way, I gave up.

Fully expecting to have to go through the routine of telling each child to get up, brush their teeth, comb their hair, don’t forget their homework and all the other daily rituals I once went through with my own, I was stunned when I heard the patter of two different sets of feet upstairs just like clockwork every morning at 6:45. Noah came down first. Fully dressed, he went to the pantry and put together his lunch. I offered to help, and he did let me warm his Spaghetti-O's, but he could have and would have done it himself. He loaded his lunch bag with fruit, chips, his main course and a bottle of water. I was impressed. While he was doing that, I fixed a little breakfast, and we had time to chat before I drove him to school, making sure to drop him off at 7:20.

When I came back from the short drive, Eme was downstairs, dressed and ready. She fixed her lunch and let Hazel, the dog, out of her cage, out the back door, put food and water in her bowl, and fed Holland, their rabbit. I was to have her at the bus stop by 7:40. She also knew how to make my coffee! Eme is the one who knows how to find things and operate gadgets.

Luke got up around 7:45. He doesn’t leave for school until 8:20, and even though I offered to drive him, he preferred the 15-minute walk. “Gives me time to listen to my music,” he said. He eats at school, but before he leaves, he plays with Hazel. They are buddies. The problem with playing with Hazel is that when Luke left, she wants me to play. I don’t play well early in the morning with a dog that can put his paws on my shoulders!

Automatically each night, they showered and went to bed without having to be told (or least were in their rooms). Noah and I sat up late watching the NCAA, but other than that, they were in their rooms by 9 p.m. Taking care of them was a piece of cake.

Jon texted me to see how things were going.

“You didn’t need me; these kids can run a home.”

Spending quality time with them and talking to them adult-like will be a lasting memory. When I got my goodbye hug from Noah, he held on for a long time, almost bringing tears.

I thought, “These kids really do love their Cici.” (I sound like Sally Fields) That’s all any grandparent wants.

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